The Rising Left: Bibi’s re-election

Posted by Admin On Thursday, 24 January 2013 0 comments
Despite Bibi’s centre-right posture, an undeniable rise in the Left brings the new Knesset closer to a peace deal. 22 January 2013: Benjamin Netanyahu has been re-elected for a second...

Despite Bibi’s centre-right posture, an undeniable rise in the Left brings the new Knesset closer to a peace deal.
22 January 2013: Benjamin Netanyahu has been re-elected for a second term as Prime Minister. With floundering claims of tightening the leash for the ultra orthodox, and working towards genuine peace with Palestine, Bibi was trying to appeal to the new wave of ‘Leftist’ awakening. For the Likud party a coalition with the freshly popular Yesh Atid, or ‘There is a Future’, a party headed by political newcomer Yair Lapid showed surprising strength. Lapid’s inclination towards genuine economic reform, and awareness of Palestine’s colonization as immoral and an economic drain on Israel’s resources resonated well with the growing tide. Netanyahu, keeping in mind Likud party’s right-centre posture, and trending ‘welfare’ ‘justice’ clad political reformers decided to assure a broad coalition agenda which would assure this rising wave of leftist politik that a blocking majority is not part of this term’s contract.
Netanyahu’s Likud-Yisrael Beitenu alliance only allowed him to capture 31 out of 120 seats, 11 less than the outgoing parliament; while the second runner up in the Knesset became the Yesh Atid, with Likud backing obviously closely followed by the Labor party. These three parties are followed by right leaning parties like the Jewish Home and Shas. A severe downfall has been observed in the Kadima party, able to secure only two seats after 28 in the previous parliament after a bad tenure with a Likud majority in 2009.
For Israelis the focal issues prior to the 2013 elections were economic, and of course international. With Iran’s nuclear program viewed as a threat to global peace, Netanyahu was able to gather much admiration back home for bringing the matter to worldwide notice. At the same time, while Netanyahu continued to authorize settlements in occupied lands, the Likud government found itself on a rough patch with the United States for aggravating relations with Palestine. The re-birth of a strong leftist sentiment among Israeli youth can be traced back to the 2011 Occupy Movement that sparked off in US and Europe. Also the Arab spring and an awakened sense of ‘democratic right’ to mankind have placed their role in Palestine on thin ice.
Recently an Israeli documentary, ‘The Gatekeepers’, released in 2012 and nominated for an Oscar this year, re-enforces that Israel on the Palestinian front is headed in the wrong direction. While Israelis in the Muslim World have been portrayed as hard liners propagating for coercion of the Arabs under their thumb, it is interesting to note that a documentary condemning their own military tactics has become so popular. An interesting shift has been noted. For the most part critics ascribe the resonance to economic downturn, but even for humanitarian principle. The Gatekeepers touches a cord. That Israel has turned into a Colonial Policing Power in a World that is, at lease for saving face, supporting the right to ‘telos’ in Aristetolian terms, the right to determine his end. And democracy then becomes a right by virtue of being human.
As the Arab Spring, spoon-fed or not, has a domino effect on the Arab political discourse, the right in the Israeli government and society cannot keep the growing left silent or indifferent. Palestine’s recent vote in the UN General Assembly has also brought their struggle for statehood to the limelight. A vast majority, even close allies in Europe by voting ‘Yes’ have turned the issue into a national embarrassment. The Left is already sick of the ‘religious’ bandwagon, with discriminatory policies even on this side of the West bank, and mismanagement of state finances to please the religious segment of society. And with a shockingly high figure placing the blame on Israel’s shoulder, the United States is finding it hard to justify the expanding settlements and colonial course of action.
For both economic and ethical reasons, Israeli society has taken a sharp turn away from the religious, colonial mindset. As the second largest party in the Knesset, the Yesh Atid’s appeal to the masses will change domestic political course. While the Iranian issue is better settled with the US’s own economic constraints and a lack of public support for another war, Israeli public’s shifting aspirations, can turn the tide in favor of peace with Palestine. Israeli voters themselves have sufficient lingering interest in a two-state solution. Whether Bibi wants to accept this, or allow next elections to cut him off the race, only time can tell. But that Israeli youth is indulging itself in profound questions about Justice, and the ‘Raj of the Right’ has pushed them to do so, speak volumes about an encouraging spin towards peace.
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